04 Jun 2019

Generally, if you do respond to the MBIE Building System legislation consultation consider some of the wording carefully, particularly the Proposals, as the subtlety of the words can have major effects on outcomes.

Things to look out for and that might affect you.

Part 2 - Improving information and accountability for building products and methods

This will require Manufacturers/suppliers to produce particular information about their products and make it publicly available. However, due to conflicting statements by MBIE, the exact status of building method (execution/installation etc) is confusing.

Although MBIE say "it does not create a new liability" for designers and builders, it does create an additional formal layer of information and complexity to the existing liability.

MBIE seem to view product information as an aid to controlling substitutions (may help?) which leads to variations. However they don't intend to change the variation process, which is a shame as the Major Variation process of basically a full consent application is a serious problem to the industry. A new Major Variation approval process is required.

Part 2 - Strengthening the framework for product certification

MBIE are looking for the power to administer product certificates (e.g. CodeMark), related processes and those that certify. Who knew they did not already have that power?

Part 2 - Modern Methods of Construction (MMC)

Although not that modern, it mostly covers the use of off-site fabrication (prefabrication etc). MBIE would like to develop a regulatory framework that allows for MMC. The basis is a certifying system to be used by the off-site fabricators.

There is one worrying item and that is the possibility of 2 BCAs being involved, one for the region of the fabricator and the other for the region of the building if it is different. This could get really complicated.

Part 3 - Occupational Regulation

Covers proposed changes to the LBP scheme and extending restricted building work (RBW), changes affecting Engineers, also plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers.

RBW may be extended into some more commercial types of buildings but not necessarily all. This seems to be a bit arbitrary, if it is going to be extended make it all buildings. If it is so good for one type it must good for all types?

MBIE suggest raising the competence standards of LBPs, although it is difficult to see if this will really work. They also propose a tiered system of standard LBPs and LBP Supervisors, but no mention of non-LBPs. There is a small indirect indication of upping the status of a site LBP (about time!).

Professional Engineers should certainly read this document as it may effect what you do.

MBIE propose to close some of the loop holes that allow non-qualified people to do some of the work of plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers

Part 4 - Require guarantee and insurance products

MBIE propose guarantees and insurance products for residential builds. This has a number of issues, not least of which are; neutrality of providers, will enough of the insurance industry be interested (not so in the past?), cost, requirements of mortgage lenders.

Part 4 - Liability of BCAs

There is some discussion of capping BCAs liability per project. This flies in the face of the common law requirement of Joint and Several Liability that the rest of us have to live with. But it does raise the issue, is the role and subsequent liability of the BCA correctly set out in the Building Act and Regulations. BCAs liability aversion causes ripples of difficulty through out the industry.

Part 5 - Building levy

Good news, they are proposing to reduce them.

Part 6: Offences, penalties and public notification

Bad news, they propose to increase penalties for individuals and they are proposing much higher penalties for organisations.

Submissions are due by 16 June 2019, 5pm.

Find out more and make your submission